Most avid anglers have a list of places they would love to fish. I am no different and Crotch has held a spot on my list for a while. Partly because it is local but also because Ive heard the walleye fishing here is pretty good. Till now I have never been able to venture out on Crotch but when a friend of mine named me his best man and wanted me to throw a modest outdoor bachelor party I started looking closer at Crotch Lake. Finally, after much research I decided we would stay at Tumblehome lodge, which is located at the southern tip of Crotch Lake.
That’s a lot of Crotches right? Alright, go ahead, get all of the crotch jokes out of your system before reading further.
Great, because although the fishing was average when compared to walleye powerhouses like lake Nippissing or Bay of Quinte, it was a dynamite weekend for the area and deserves a serious report.
To prepare for the weekends festivities, I took Friday off and hit the road at 8:30, heading north towards a weekend of fishing and most likely drunken debauchery. They guys were starting to call the weekend “Sausage Fest at Crotch Lake” and they were looking forward to some heavy drinking. I just hoped we would at least get some fishing in between the beer and harassment of the groom.
So I Loaded my car with a ridiculous amount of beer and hopes for catching fish and I arrived at Crotch lake an hour and 45 minutes later.
For those of you who don’t know, the most direct route to Crotch lake from Kingston is to take highway 38 through Verona, turn left onto highway 7 and then turn again onto Highway 509. Take a left onto Ardoch Road, and 15 minutes later you will arrive.
Although there is a launch at the North end of the Lake, the best access point is by Far Tumblehome Lodge located at the southern tip. The folks here know the Lake very well and are great to deal with. Not to mention, Tumblehome Lodge has some of the best accommodations around with the best prices! I can assure you, staying here will give you the best bang for your buck.
Now to the fishing. Crotch lake is approximately 3,850 Acres in size with 55 miles of shoreline. Lake depths extend up to 100 ft and the majority of the lake is 20 + ft deep. Crotch lake has very little weed growth due to its sharp sloped rocky shores and hard rock bottom. This translates into a lot less Largemouth bass and a lot more Smallmouth.
We started by tackling the bass population in the lake which included testing out the few weedbeds we encountered and hitting the rocky shores and drop-offs with jigs and crank baits. Mediocre success was had with a few largemouths caught every trip and about double the amount of smallmouths. The odd Pike fell to our tactics as well. Although the numbers weren’t huge, we did catch some decent size fish. We even saw a few guys with a 4lb 7oz beast as we were coming off the lake.
The wind continued to be a problem throughout the weekend as the wind direction was perfectly inline with the lake’s fetch. Thankfully it was nothing the green machine couldn’t handle.
With our bass appetite sated, it was time to chase some gold around the lake. Catching the smallmouth had been a “first” for the groom and he was looking to add another “first” to his repertoire by catching a walleye. Our attempts to catch walleye included pitching jigs, trolling spinner baits and running bottom bouncers at depths between 18 and 40 ft. All of these techniques produced fish, however, I caution the use of bottom bouncers due to the large amount of boulders and rocks littering the lake bottom. You will loose tackle on this lake with this method! We had pretty good success for Walleye and the numbers remained consistent with 2 to 3 walleye caught every time we ventured out for a fish. Not to mention the odd incidental smallmouth. Fish measured between 15 and 18 inches landing a few squarely in the slot size (15.7 to 19.5inches). We did witness a larger 3+ lb beast caught by another angler when we returned from one of the morning runs.
Look at the colour on these fish!
(A face only a mother could love!)
I am sure those of you who are dedicated walleye fisherman are probably laughing at these sizes and weights I am posting. Even though they are not huge, I ask you to think about the sizes compared to walleye fishing in the general area. Walleye are a hard species to come by near Kingston and they are heavily fished across southern Ontario. Not to mention this was my first time fishing this lake. All things considered, the trip was a success.
We certainly enjoyed the fishing on Crotch, not to mention the quality accommodations and delicious beer.
I am sure the bachelor party/fishing trip will not soon be forgotten.
Cheers from the Wild